HARARE – Opposition political parties have warned President Robert Mugabe that he should brace for the worst page of his long political life as he not only faces an internal revolt in his party ahead of next year’s elections, but also a rout from their grand coalition.
Mugabe, who turns 94 next year, has already hit the campaign trail and despite increasing frailty due to old age, debilitating succession wars devouring his party Zanu PF and the continued economic meltdown, still believes he will defeat the mooted grand coalition involving MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai and his former deputy Joice Mujuru who now leads the National People’s Party (NPP).
Addressing thousands of his supporters at a rally in Mutare, the nonagenarian was his usual bullish self as he vowed to annihilate the opposition even if they are to join hands next year.
However, spokesperson of the mainstream MDC Obert Gutu said Mugabe has now lost touch with reality and is failing to appreciate the signs that are written on the wall, including the raging tribal wars in his own backyard.
“Mugabe needs prayers from Zimbabweans and sympathy because he has lost the plot and is becoming delusionary. We are not angry against him but we are sorry for him and the situation he is in. There is no way a divided Zanu PF can win the elections, he is afraid of a Tsvangirai-led coalition and now he is trying to hoodwink his supporters into believing that they can win.
“What I know is that even if there is going to be free and fair elections in Zanu PF, Mugabe would lose to anyone because he has lost support even among his own. When we meet some politburo members the message is the same, the old man must step down and that is universally shared, so he should not dismiss the coalition because it will bury him,” said Gutu.
NPP’s spokesperson Methuseli Moyo also shared similar views saying it is only a matter of time before Mugabe is awakened from his slumber by the grand coalition.
“Mugabe is free to fool himself and his wife, children, family and friends. After all, he is now a visiting president and therefore out of touch with the reality on the ground. That is why in his now monotonous speeches, he does not address the imploding crisis in Zimbabwe.
“There is no money, there are no roads, there are no medicines in hospitals, industries are collapsing daily, unemployment is reaching 95 percent, and the majority of civil servants have not been paid their 2016 bonuses, six months into the new year, yet he has the temerity to declare himself winner of an election in such an environment.
“He must wake up from his sleep and take time to appreciate the gravity of the situation and accept failure and retire. If anyone will be crushed at the 2018 elections, it is Mugabe himself and his party.
“With or without a coalition, the opposition will walk over Mugabe and his gang in 2018. The coalition will be the icing on the cake. NPP is not moved at all by the rumblings of a 93-year-old failed president who is holding onto power for the sake of it. Zimbabwe will have a new president in 2018,” said Moyo.
Addressing his party supporters in Mutare on Friday last week, Mugabe said his party will win the impending polls because of its ability to mobilise.
“United as we are now, those that say we want to change things in Zimbabwe will never beat us in an election. United as we are, even their sanctions won’t affect us. The sanctions might make things difficult for us but we won’t change. United as we are our programmes like command agriculture, command again in other areas will be a success.
“Let’s remain united. These small parties think that if they form a coalition they can beat Zanu PF in elections, aah, we say if they form a coalition it makes things easier for us. One blow will finish them,” Mugabe said.
However, despite publicly feigning bravado, Zanu PF appears to be rattled by the prospects of a grand coalition which analysts believe could end his 37 years in power.
Last month, Mujuru, who served at Mugabe’s side for more than a decade, from 2004 until her expulsion in 2014 on yet to be proven allegations that she was trying to remove Mugabe from power through a coup claimed that opposition parties are being infiltrated.
“That we have agreed as the MDC and NPP has caused panic in Zanu PF, there is no peace in Zanu PF as we speak. They tried everything possible to scuttle the coalition . . . you know the only industry left is the police, army and CIO, vari kuedza kutipiringisha (they are trying to confuse us), but we are saying to them let us free you, we want to liberate you, this is not the time to abduct people, why are you doing that to people who want to liberate you, you are being sent to kill, just remember it is you who will be haunted by the spirit of the dead,” said Mujuru.